A charging stand for an Apple Watch should be handsome, well thought out in that it hides the charging cable, presents the Apple Watch nicely, is convenient to use, and has additional uses. The Griffin WatchStand does all that.
It's amazing how many different engineering approaches there ar to the idea of an Apple Watch charging stand. In some cases, a half-baked design leads to an unsightly and irregular looking charging cable in a gutter on the side. In other cases, the stand doesn't weigh enough to avoid an accidental tip over. And, if one only has one Apple Watch charger, it should be easy to remove for travel.
Testing & Observations
The Griffin WatchStand does a pretty good job with all these design points. Because the column is tall (just under 7 inches (18 cm) total, the WatchStand has a large, weighted base, and the whole unit weighs a generous 15 oz. (425 grams) that will help it remain upright when bumped. (The specs say 18 oz. which is the shipping weight.) The available color is black only.
Rather than sending the charger cable down the side, in a gutter, in an unsightly manner, it's kept inside the vertical column, and there's enough room inside, with a slotted core, to coil the cord and take up any unwanted slack. This is a very thoughtful design.
Because the column is rectangular and has a friction fit into the base, it can be arranged in any of four directions. Plus, because there's a gap behind the circular depression for the charger disk, one can push it out from behind, and it's not necessary to remove it by pulling up on the cable—which in the long run could damage it.
There's a lip on the front of the base that allows one to also rest an iPhone there, attached to its own charger cable. Because that's a bonus feature, the iPhone's charger cable will be out in the open. (See image below.)
Wrist strap fastened, resting on top. Lip on front supports iPhone as well.
The charger disk for the Apple Watch Sport model is thicker (8 mm) than for the Stainless Steel Apple Watch (7 mm), so a spacer is included that allows the thinner metal charger disk to fit correctly and be just about flush. Griffin notes:
We wanted to make sure that both customers had the best experience possible regardless of which model they purchased, so we included the spacer. Users with the sport model do not need to use the spacer, only the stainless steel users. An FAQ on the spacer can be found here:
The four pads on the botton of the heavy base are large and thick, but provide plenty of room to let the charger cable exit in any desired direction.
The pieces included. The main column is in two pieces with internal provision to coil the cable.
Package and Warranty
The packaging is thick and protects the product very well. A four panel pamphlet has hints on usage and the spacer that's included. From the developer: "All Griffin products offer a One Year Warranty, which can be found on the bottom of the packaging and here on our website." (I couldn't find it myself on the packaging, but the website is clear.) There is also a slip of paper included that describes special provisions when purchased in Australia.
The box internal packaging is thick and highly protective.
Because the vertical column is a solid piece with no notch or opening, one must leave the wrist band undone to rest the Watch in the charger face vertically. Alternatively, one can fasten the band and rest it on the charger at an angle, say, 45 degrees (as shown above) or even 90 degrees (shown below).
I've seen comments from users who like the idea of not having to fasten the band for charging. However, my own preference is to not leave the band dangling, and so I find myself fastening it and setting up the Apple Watch at an angle. This is a nit as far as I am concerned, but it's something to be aware of. And there are certainly other stands that afford the ability to fasten the band and keep the watch vertical. (See links below.)
One of our editors has an Apple Watch Sport and neglected to insert the spacer disk necessary for use for a second charger (metal) that he bought for travel. Because the metal charger disk is thinner than the plastic disk, he wasn't getting full magnetic contact, and the watch would slide down at night, lose contact and stop charging. So watch for that if you have the two different kinds of chargers.
Certainly, fastening the wrist band and resting it at a 45 degree angle will allow part of the band to catch in the top and better support the weight of the Apple Watch if you still have a problem.
Turn sideways (or less) to keep the wristband fastened. Front lip supports iPhone.
Tidy cable management is a plus.
As it Stands
I liked the look and design of this stand. It's easy to disassemble into two pieces for travel, if you don't mind the weight, and it cleverly keeps the cable hidden. Because the design allows the cable to coil up inside, one must leave the strap undone or attach the Apple Watch at an angle. It's a compromise.
Along with the Twelve South HiRise, this is the best Apple Watch charging stand I've seen so far. And it's much less expensive than the HiRise which, by design, wouldn't travel well.